With thanks Ahuva; Maier
A controversy has erupted over one of the Paris attack victims buried yesterday in Israel: Yoav Hattab, whose family lives in Tunis. Was he a Tunisian patriot, or a Zionist? Of course one could be both, if Tunisians did not consider Zionism as an expression of disloyalty.
Lisa Goldman in the+ 972 Magazine writes:
“Tunisia is bereaved!” read the main headline on the front page of Sunday’s Le Temps, a French-language newspaper based in Tunis. Three of the people shot to death in Friday’s hostage-taking at a Parisian branch of the French kosher supermarket chain Hyper Cacher, were Tunisian citizens. One of them was Yoav Hattab,
the 21 year-old son of the main rabbi of Tunis. Hattab, who was in
Paris to complete his graduate studies, was a patriot: in a photo on the
front page of Le Temps, he grins proudly while holding up a
blue-inked index finger, proof that he had voted in his country’s first
democratic election following the 2011 revolution.
"For young Tunisians on social media, Hattab has come to represent their hopes for their country. They are sharing and quoting a France 2 television interview with Rabbi Benjamin Hattab,
the dead man’s father, in which he speaks passionately of the easy,
mutually respectful relationship between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia."
Political analyst Jonathan Spyer takes a different position on his Facebook page:
" An article recently published at the anti-Israel '972' site is a
misrepresentation of Yoav Hattab, one of the Jews murdered last week at
the Hyper Cacher. The article falsely misrepresents Yoav Hatab as
primarily a 'Tunisian patriot'. So, to clarify:
Yoav Hattab was a
Hebrew speaking Zionist Jew who was planning his aliyah at the time of
his murder. I was at his funeral today, where I spoke with people who
knew him. The funeral was in Jerusalem, surrounded by Israeli flags and
concluded with Hatikvah, as his family wished. In addition, contrary
to their claims in an article in Ynet today, nothing was stopping Yoav's
Muslim Tunisian friends from coming to his funeral today in Jerusalem,
had they wished to. They would have been welcome guests. They chose not
to come. This decision in itself, along with the many instances of
desecration of Jewish graves in Tunisia, point to the wisdom of his
family's decision to bury their murdered son in Israel, where his grave
will be kept safe."
Spyer's account of the funerals (Weekly Standard)
Haaretz (behind a paywall ) corroborates Spyer's view:
"Most friends who meet on Birthright Israel trips get to look forward to lifelong connections with their fellow participants.
Yoav Hattab never got that chance. The son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis,
who traveled to Israel on Birthright last month, had only been back in
Paris for a few weeks when he was gunned down by the terrorist who laid siege to the Hyper Cacher supermarket on Friday.
"The 21-year-old, Hattab was a student when he signed up for one of the
free Birthright tours to Israel offered to young Diaspora Jews around
the world. Hattab grew up in La Goulette, a coastal town in the suburbs
of Tunis, the Daily Mail reported, but had moved to Paris to study
marketing and international trade.
But one of his Birthright companions said his ultimate aim was to move
to Israel, even though the Birthright trip was his first time in the
Nathan Levi, 24 is originally from Haifa, but now lives in Be'er Sheva
where he studies geography and environmental development at Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev. He was one of four Israelis who joined Hattab’s
French 30-member Birthright group which travelled across Israel from
December 24 to January 2nd.
"He was so in love in Israel - he spend much of the trip with
the Israeli flag draped over his back. His dream was to come to Israel
and make aliya together with his whole family from Tunis.”
“He was so upbeat, always motivated, and he really loved Israel with
all his heart. I had thought that this was his first trip to Israel, but
it turns out that he was here last summer and it was his second time.
He said his Birthright experience made him want even more to come here,
he really loved the country and he was euphoric when he finished the
trip. He said if he had any doubts about making aliya before, this trip
put an end to it, it was exactly what he wanted to do.”